As Munchkin and I stepped out of our GrabCar, we were almost immediately greeted by a Bottega staff. We carefully maneuvered our way through the tightly packed seating area and to our assigned table. This is our first Bottega’s monthly “Saturday Mingle” (an afternoon buffet held once every month) and having stalked the pictures on their Facebook page, I was on a mission to devour everything hot that left the kitchen that day.
Without any briefing from the staff, we decided to start with the cold cuts. There were at least 4 types of cured meats (eg. Parma ham and salami), olives, pickled onions and chilies, cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, caprese salad and sliced baguette. While options were limited, the quality of the products were top-notch. The cured meats and cheeses were delicious on their own, but tasted even better together and with the other condiments.
On my 2nd plate of cold cuts, I felt something was amiss. Where’s the wine?!! Little did I know, there was a payment counter at the front, where you could pickup 4 wine coupons (2 glasses for white and another 2 for red) after paying RM120.
With payment out of the way, I proceeded to the wine queue.
When it comes to food, I like taking the time to know more about the product and its distinct/unique characteristics. To me, this is part of the natural gastronomical process of enjoying and appreciating food. So, when I received little to no information on the wines after some enquiry, I was deeply disappointed.
I relied on my observation skills instead and noticed they were offering: Pinot Grigio (white), Zabu Grillo Terre Siciliane IGT (white), Chateau Saint-Martin (red) and I Muri Negroamaro IGP (red). I definitely preferred the whites that had a sweetish and fruity end, as compared to the oaky and dryer reds.
Having sat in the middle also felt as if I was being served hot food last – more often than not, the staff would serve the tables at the front, back and sides first. By the time they reached my table, food was either running low or I had to wait for the next round. Hence, there were several occasions where I had to embarrassingly wave at the staff when they were making their food rounds. Also, portioning is tiny – imagine a scoop of pasta or 2 pieces of gnocchi each time – but the staff were generally friendly and would be happy to give extra when you ask for more.
There were more than 10 types of hot food (eg. patatas bravas, fried pork, risotto, conchigliette, gnocchi, ravioli, savoury pies, ribs, pizzas) and 3 types of desserts (fruits in lime and chopped mint, tiramisu, and bread balls soaked in liquor and served with a custard sauce). It was also a nice touch when baby cups of limoncello appeared around 6pm.
While I really like the idea of being served, one should bear in mind that this is not the usual “buffet concept” that Malaysians are very much familiar with. In order to truly enjoy Bottega’s Saturday Mingles, one should come prepared with the most relaxed state of mind – cancel all appointments on that day, go together with a group of your closest friends, pace yourself, and just be patient, the hot food will come.
Did I feel I had my money’s worth? Not in terms of quantity, but yes, to quality and variety. The ingredients used were definitely not cheap, and chef Riccardo’s cooking was authentic and excellent. Apart from the loud music, the outdoor ambience was lovely – gave it an almost European feel and you get to watch passers-by. The brands that the deli had also brought back fond childhood memories for me – they were the same ones I grew up with when I was living in Italy. With the combination of great food, chillax ambience and nostalgic feeling, I think this has to be one of the most rustic Italian affair I have ever had in Malaysia.
Will I be back? Absolutely!
Plan your visit:
1A, Jalan Ceylon 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+603 2070 4222
Saturday Mingle is only once a month.